Another lockdown is likely in Nigeria with the rising COVID-19 cases, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the Novel Coronavirus Control has warned.
The ad hoc body working on prevention of the virus is worried that despite the second wave whose effect is deadlier than the first wave, Nigerians have continued to shun the prescribed protocols.
National Coordinator of the PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu, said the only way to prevent a re-introduction of a lockdown is by adhering to the advisories.
Many business concerns and the generality of Nigerians have cautioned against another lockdown because it will hurt the economy that has already slumped into recession.
Business leaders have advised the government to seek other options to control the spread of the virus.
Aliyu, speaking on a television programme on Sunday, said: “If you don’t want a lockdown, the only way is to make sure we use our facemasks, avoid mass gatherings, avoid people who have respiratory tract infections, sanitise our hands and follow those non-pharmaceutical interventions.
“The very vaccines that we currently have are those non-pharmaceutical interventions.
“If numbers continue to go up, all options are on the table. There are countries in the world that have been able to control this pandemic simply by following these non-pharmaceutical interventions. They may be inconvenient, but they will not be as difficult as a lockdown”.
Aliyu said cases were multiplying in recent weeks.
“We are talking holistically here. All I can say is that 33 people died of COVID-19 in the last one week. Are we saying those people died for nothing? We have just recorded 6,000 cases in one week, far more than we ever recorded.
“COVID-19 exists; anybody who says COVID-19 does not exist is probably living in a completely different world. In the last week, we’ve had a tripling of cases. You can see what’s happening in the United States, you can see what’s happening in the UK.
” I’m sure most of those who have been following the numbers will realise that what we have now far exceeds what we had in June/July last year.
“In week 52, which is the week we’ve just finished, we’ve seen a tripling in the weekly number of cases, compared to what we had three weeks ago. The 6,000 cases per week are really huge. Our hospitals are already starting to get overloaded and we are already starting to feel the pressure within the healthcare system.